What’s Happening on Main Streets

It’s that holiday season and once again, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Each year, I’m inundated by national Main Street groups promoting small-business Saturday (the biggest sales day for most small businesses), which is the day after Black Friday. My colleagues are astonished to learn that the weekend following Thanksgiving is always serenely tranquil in Mission Hill. Noiseless educational institutions, hospitals manned by skeleton crews, less commuter traffic, and fewer bus and streetcar runs. Many of our younger residents (who help make the area vibrant) travel back to their homesteads for family reunions. Our local businesses do inventory, unbox decorations, or opt to close for the weekend to give their staff some well-deserved rest.

On the early morning on the Friday after Turkey Day, I accompanied the Maverick Construction electrician bucket truck installing our Christmas light pole fixtures and we chuckled upon realizing that there was not a moving soul in sight as we surveyed up and down Tremont Street. Like a bizarre scene from a sci-fi movie, an eerie sense of loneliness pervaded the space for several moments until a rescue chopper alit from the heliport atop Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At such times I’m reminded that sometimes silence can be as disorienting as a thunderclap.

You’re reminded that on Saturday, Dec. 2 Mayor Martin Walsh invites you to join him in bringing his Enchanted Trolley Tour and Tree Lighting to Mission Hill from 2:00 ‘til 4:00 p.m. at the Brigham Circle Monument next to Penguin Pizza. The Big Guy (Santa Claus) will arrive with the mayor and a police motorcycle escort along with musicians, caroling, Elves, and hot and cold beverages graciously donated by local businesses and institutions. The mayor’s neighborhood liaison, Yissel Guerrero, has made it her “mission” to make this year’s event bigger and better than ever. Hot cider from Penguin, confections and beverages from Mike’s Donuts, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, New England Baptist Hospital, Mission Bar, the Landmark Center and many new additions. NEBH has donated Boston Celtics tickets, and other gifts and prizes will be raffled off to attendees. Join with neighbors and kids of all ages to greet the Jolly Old Elf, so be good, for goodness sake.

Thirty-five South Huntington Ave. is coming alive as tenants and furniture trucks arrive. The new building is bringing life to that former unsightly longtime vacant lot. I witnessed its large overhead canopy providing much needed relief from the rain to bus and trolley commuters recently. Building owner Doug George is a Boston Latin grad and a passionate bibliophile (bookworm) and he installed a small free lending library/bookcase along the fence that appears to be doing a brisk business with locals. I’ve already made my wife happier by dropping off one boxful. If you’re a nerd like me who loves to read (books, not computer screens), seeing these mini free libraries diffusing from the leafy burbs to the city, delights your heart. A Boston Latin dropout, Benjamin Franklin, is the one responsible for the proliferation of free lending libraries in Colonial America. Public libraries are one of this nation’s greatest resources and I pray their importance never diminishes as the globe becomes techno-focused.

Are you trying to choose a social gathering to attend as the Holidays draw nigh? Let me recommend a good one. On Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m. at the Mission Bar, the folks at New England Baptist Hospital will hold a party to support the Jingle Bell Run for the Arthritis Foundation. NEBH is a presenting sponsor of the run each year and a $10 donation admits you to the event which features great prizes, drawings and the tasty nibbles that are the trademark of Mission Bar owners Harry Walsh and Michel Soltani. The hospital is consistently munificent to any and all worthwhile community efforts. The generous Mission Hill neighborhood will be well represented in supporting the preferred charity of this beloved and renowned neighborhood surgery center.

If you appreciate artistic excellence, the following Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. the Mission Hill Artists Collaborative will be presenting their talents at an Art Exhibit at the Mission Hill Main Streets offices at 812 Huntington Ave. The Artists Collaborative traditionally displays their works at the Parker Hill Public Library on Tremont Street, but because of the renovations underway this year, Main Streets is proudly hosting the showing. Admission is free to all. Having seen some of the latest works, I guarantee that you will be amazed and impressed by these marvelous Mission Hill Masterpieces.

Finally, make SHOPPING LOCALLY a personal goal during the coming holidays. Small businesses employ our neighbors, give back locally, generate tax revenues, and add to the vitality of Mission Hill. You won’t catch me shopping at the mall… Feliz Navidad!


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